What's wrong with a little networking?

The one constant with the federal government’s overall social-networking policy is: There doesn’t seem to be one.

Access to sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook might be prohibited or permitted, depending on the agency.

The discomfort concerning social networking includes fears that employees will disclose sensitive or proprietary information, worries about productivity, and concern over social networks as a potential source of malware infection.

The U.S. government doesn’t have a clear policy regarding federal employees’ use of social networks, said David Gorodetski, co-founder and chief operations officer at Sage Communications.

Agencies can choose to establish internally hosted social-networking sites, which reduces security concerns. For example, in September, the intelligence community launched A-Space, a collaborative environment that resides on the classified Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.

Such internal sites are behind government firewalls and thus are much more secure, Gorodetski said.

As for commercial sites, government agencies will need to make decisions on not only broadly based entities such as LinkedIn and Facebook but also on government-focused sites.

Govloop.com, for one, bills itself as the “premier social network connecting the government community.”

Gorodetski said another social-networking site, named Discover, is in beta testing and will be restricted to registrants from the .mil and .gov domains.

David Graziano, who leads Cisco Systems’ federal security practice, said he believes agencies will fall into two camps when it comes to Web 2.0 developments.

One camp will be agencies that shut down and discourage collaboration and perpetuate an environment of closed networks, he said. The other side will make the leap to Web 2.0.

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Thu, Oct 1, 2009

Right, Mr. Graziano! How can anyone collaborate without Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? And stop the perpetuation of closed networks! Open them up! But, of course, never ever allow any breaches or attacks or data leakage on those networks.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group